German chemist, spy and saboteur Walter T. Scheele was the lynchpin for a ship-bomb plot in 1915 that put incendiary bombs aboard Europe-bound ships. Scheele's chemical bombs were designed to explode mid-voyage and set fire to the ships' cargoes. After the plot was discovered, Scheele was indicted in 1916 and fled to Cuba, where he went underground for two years under an assumed name.
The ship-bomb plot made headlines nationwide, including this 1916 article about the arrest of Scheele's co-conspirators.
The house in Cuba where Scheele lived as a virtual prisoner for two years as the guest of a smuggler named Juan de Pozas. In March 1918, de Pozas forced Scheele out when the Cuban authorities made inquiries at the home. Scheele was arrested soon after trying to escape the island.
The garden of the de Pozas house.
A bedroom in the de Pozas house, presumably Scheele's.
A soldier crouching in the garden of the de Pozas house in the location where Scheele had buried papers for safe-keeping.
A passport application and photo of Richmond M. Levering, the wealthy oilman and entrepreneur sent to Cuba to take custody of Scheele and return him to the United States. Levering turned Scheele and convinced him to work on chemical weapons for the U.S. government, and offered up his remote factory compound near Peekskill, New York, as the laboratory for Scheele's subsequent internment.
A photo of Scheele, along Cuban authorities and another man arrested in the sweep that netted Scheele, on a boat from Key West back to Cuba.
Diagram of incendiary drop bomb containing Scheele's explosive chemical compound, which was initially called Scheeleite and subsequently renamed "helline."
An advertisement for Scheele's chemistry services in the Hackensack, N.J. city directory, where Scheele and his wife settled after his release from federal custody.